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Celebrating National Poetry Month
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April is National Poetry Month, so we're bringing you some original work by Kendra Burton, a member of the Future Educators Task Force.  Kendra is a talented spoken word artist and plans to bring her passion for words to the classroom to impact students growing up as she did in Milwaukee.

"I want  you all to bathe in significance
I want you to become the very things your families fought for"

Wake Up Call

Wake Up Call

By: Kendra Burton, City Year Milwaukee Team Leader

Today I declare,
No more of our children shall become strange fruit
Left under the shade of miseducation, poverty and welfare lines
No more of our children shall fall victim to the shots fired with authorization
I decree,
All of our children will be educated and achievement gap will no longer be a leap of faith
I believe that every stereotype blasting through your stereo systems will too come to pass
It’s time for the alarm clocks to be sounded and our children to wake up
Don’t miss your ride to comfort submitting to false idols
But wait,
Cleanse yourself from the stench of yesterday
Comb over your flaws
Tidy yourself up my child
My child
Don’t leave your castle looking like a serpent
Our communities are raising jewels to carry themselves as hard rocks
While giving opportunities to fool’s gold
Our valuables have been taken from us
We are in need of the combination to unlock the safe where our gems have been hidden
There will be no need for a hard exterior when you realize you have a solid foundation
When you approach me, I see you differently
There is submission in your touch
There is hope in your character
There is tomorrow in your womb and courage where your belt used to be
I see God in your smile
But there is greatness in your stride
Hope is your misfortune and education in your wit
I want you all to bathe in significance
I want you to become the very things your families fought for
Let today be the river that streams to your ocean of forever and fortune
I see prosperity in your dispositions
I declare,
Your alarm clock has now sounded and the clock is now ticking

It's Time To Serve
This group piece was written by Kendra Burton and Kinnethia Tolson, also a City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps Member. It was performed at the site's MLK Day Program in January 2015.

Life is full of choices
But there is one choice I've never had
It comes as naturally as screaming out “bless you” in a crowded room whenever I hear someone sneeze
Service is in my DNA
It runs through my veins
Since my grandfather decided to serve the USA and came back PTSD, see service runs deep
With the heartbeat of ancestors who only say fit for change
And now the change finally makes sense. We’ve been searching for ourselves when we’ve been here all along but in order to find ourselves we must first lose ourselves in the service to others. We see this in the soup kitchen in New York that serves 1,000 meals every weekend and the young man on my mother’s block who insists on shoveling her snow so she won’t have to
We see this in the teacher that stays late every day to ensure that learning doesn’t stop at his door step
No matter how many times the faces have changed the passion to serve remains the same.
To extend a helping hand and bring back humanity to the land
To lay down our differences and take a stand
Like Jose Marti
Thurgood Marshall
Langston Hughes
Simon Bolivar
Father Groppi
Nina Symone
Sydney Newman
Nelson Mandela
The paths have been created but there is more to add to this pavement
We’ve built many bridges but too many of our communities remain gated
My question for you is when will Ubuntu be reinstated?

Kendra Burton is serving as an AmeriCorps Member as a Team Leader for City Year Milwaukee after previously serving in 2013-2014.  As a product of public schools, she has seen the need in the school system and feels she can not just walk away from these children with a sound mind. Working with City Year has given her the opportunity to see the public systems in a new lens. Kendra plans to complete her undergraduate degree following her service and then return to Milwaukee Public Schools as a teacher.